Aesthetics of democratisation in modern Nigerian drama


ADEOTT, Gbemisola Aderemi


Dramatic arts, democratization, governance, Nigeria


Since the pioneering efforts of Hubert Ogunde in the 1940s through the 1960s, the
subject of politics has been a recurrent engagement of Nigerian drama and theatre. The
present study observes that from 1980 to date, the focus has shifted from mere representation
of general themes of politics to more specific notions of democratisation and good governance
in Nigerian drama. The argument here is that the aesthetic modes of articulating
democratisation in literary productions have not been adequately explored. Therefore, as an
examination of modern Nigerian drama written in English, the thesis investigates how the
genre has responded to Nigeria 's quest for national development under democratic
governance. Its central focus is the literary, rhetorical and performative techniques adopted by
dramatists who choose democratisation as a theme in their plays within the last two decades
of the twentieth century ..
Taking cognisance of drama in terms of "text", "performance" and "context", the
thesis examines representative works of first, second and third generations of Nigerian
dramatists, using the genre critical approach. In order to provide insights into the sociopolitical
under-currents that generate texts and also to establish the authorial democratic
visions, a series of interviews with some playwrights were conducted. From the theatrical
devices adopted in the works of these writers to project the notion of democratisation, four
aesthetic constructs are identified. These are: the 'devaluation', the 'trado-epic', the
'gynocentric' and the 'heteroformic' constructs. Specifically, the thesis analyses eight plays


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May 2, 2001


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